The Next Generation of Parks | The Brooklyn Bridge Park, New York

January 23, 2013 by Elizabeth Hixson

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At an iconic location along the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn, the highly anticipated Brooklyn Bridge Park is nearly complete – and already making headlines. Designed to be resilient, its characteristic marshes and soft edges helped Brooklyn Bridge Park survive Hurricane Sandy substantially intact.

In fact, sustainability – both financial and environmental – is embedded in the park’s design, function and operations. Key sustainable design elements: salvaged materials, habitat creation, stormwater management, energy conservation, green roofs, and ongoing maintenance practices.

The park is also a prime example of a forward-thinking public/non-profit and private partnership: The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation is a non-profit group in charge of planning, development, and maintenance of the park. The Mayor of New York City and the Governor of the State of New York appoint the Park Corporation’s directors. In addition, the Park Corporation is required to be financially self-sufficient; to achieve this, the organization leverages adjacent development properties to support the park.


85 acres of parkland
Following 1.3 miles of Brooklyn’s East River

Design Team

Designed principally by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, with many partners

Key Players


2002 – Memorandum of understanding creates provisions for the park
2010 – Pier 1 opens, just south of the Brooklyn Bridge landing
2012 – Peir 5 opens, a majority of the park’s phases are now complete

What makes this the Next Generation of Parks™?

  • Connection with development properties connected to parks
  • Intertwined architecture and landscape architecture
  • Self-sustaining finances
  • Connection to and enhancement of existing parks
  • Planned phasing to create continuous momentum – first and last piers completed early and area between filled in over time.

Images courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation

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